Undefeated Cornell Steamrolls Dartmouth Lacrosse
Dartmouth College goaltenders Blair Friedensohn (1), Ham Sonnenfeld and Colin Heffernan (25) wait to participate in the postgame handshake line with Cornell after the Big Green's 19-4 loss at Scully-Fahey Field. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College goaltender Blair Friedensohn moves after the ball after dislodging it from Cornell attackman Dan Lintner with an illegal check to the head that resulted in a two-minute penalty. The No. 2 Big Red improved to 9-0 this season and dropped the Big Green to 1-5 with a 19-4 victory Saturday at Scully-Fahey Field. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Early in Saturday’s Ivy League men’s lacrosse game between Dartmouth and Cornell, a group of rowdy fraternity brothers filed into Scully-Fahey Field, taunting the No. 2 Big Red as they filed along the bleachers’ bottom row.
“Overrated!” the raggedy crew shouted repeatedly. “Overrated!”
In your dreams, boys.
The final score was 19-4, but it didn’t feel that close. Dartmouth, its roster riddled by injury, illness and inexperience, couldn’t keep up from the start, making so many mistakes and surrendering so many goals that the frat boys were gone by the start of the fourth quarter.
Not only did Cornell live up to its 9-0 record and national championship aspirations, but the Big Green was just downright awful at times. Successful passing was sometimes such a challenge that had the teams played in unmarked uniforms, observers could have been forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled upon a varsity-jayvee scrimmage.
“There are a lot of things we need to work onm and it’s hard to pinpoint one or even a few,” said junior defenseman Bobby Osgood. “We need to be better about practicing in our free time and getting throwing and catching repetition.
“I think Cornell did a great job of pressuring us, but at the same time, we’re Division I athletes and should be able to do a better job of handling that and be able to bang the ball around the perimeter. I wish I had the answer for why it looked so difficult.”
Fifth-year Dartmouth coach Andy Towers said the visitors forced his team to play at a faster pace than it wanted or was able to replicate during the week’s practices.
“They exposed us,” he said. “They won a lot of matchups all over the field, particularly when we were on offense. They step out on you and make you play.”
Cornell substituted early and often in the second half, using all but one player listed on its 36-man roster and all four goaltenders. The score was 2-0 after 21/2 minutes, 5-1 after a quarter and 10-2 at halftime.
Dartmouth couldn’t deny Cornell on a single clear and the Big Red went 3-of-9 in man-up opportunities. The Big Green was 1-of-6 when it enjoyed such an advantage and also surrendered back-to-back shorthanded goals within 12 seconds, one by an opponent wielding a 6-foot pole.
Even when the hosts got aggressive, they got it wrong. Midway through the second quarter, Dartmouth goaltender Blair Friedensohn flattened attackman Dan Lintner with a check to the head that resulted in a 2-minute, non-releasable penalty. Cornell then scored.
So blatant was the foul that not only did Friedensohn not protest, he didn’t break stride after belting Lintner, running straight to the sideline penalty area. Lintner suffered a gash high on his left cheek from the collision, but soon returned to action. Friedensohn, who briefly left the stadium to receive stitches between his eyebrows, didn’t see any more game time, having stopped six of the 14 shots he faced.
Other distressing details for Dartmouth included twice throwing the ball out of bounds while enjoying a man advantage, incurring a delay-of-game penalty for shooting the ball several seconds after a whistle and repeatedly ending offensive possessions by shooting too early or from severe angles. Cornell placed 31 of its 50 shots on goal, while the Big Green was 13-of-36 in the same department.
“They play with a confidence that makes them appear bigger, faster and stronger, which is easier to have when you’re successful,” Osgood said. “It’s hard not to look at history and instead take every season as a new season, because Cornell has been so successful in the past and we’ve obviously had our issues.
“As the game falls away, it’s a little easier to mentally revert back to bad habits.”
A bright spot for Dartmouth was the play of junior midfielder Phil Hession, who won 11-of-25 faceoffs and logged substantial minutes despite an injury. The Big Green’s goals came from freshmen Adam Phillie and Jack McCormick and junior Adam Fishman, who scored twice after returning from injury and making his season debut.
Towers lauded his players for not quitting and Cornell for displaying the form that has allowed it to win or share 10 of the last 11 Ivy League titles. The Big Red has won the teams’ last two meetings by a combined score of 40-9.
“That might be the best team in the country, but we seem to be saying that too often after we play them every year,” Towers said. “As talented as they are, I think their greatest trait is that they play really well together and their whole is greater than the sum of their parts.”
Dartmouth, 0-2 in Ivy League play, hosts Yale (4-3, 1-2) this weekend before visiting Hartford (4-6) and Princeton (4-4, 1-2) the following week.
Said Osgood: “The only thing we can do is look at this (game’s) film and our previous films and continue to improve in every way we can. The big thing is making the plays during the game that we’ve all seen each other make in practice.”
Notes: Lintner, a senior who didn’t start until this season, has 32 goals. Dartmouth’s leader is Mike Olentine, with seven. … Former Big Green football captain and current senior Bronson Green wore a gorilla suit to the game, at one point chasing a friend dressed as a banana through the stands. … Former Dartmouth football and lacrosse player and lacrosse assistant coach Ryan Danehy is in his second season as offensive coordinator at Michigan (4-7), which is playing its second varsity campaign. The Wolverines play some games in their school’s 110,000-seat football stadium, but can also use an indoor field house with seating for 1,000 spectators. … Cornell leads the teams’ series, 49-15 and Dartmouth has won only nine meetings since 1957. The Big Green does not have a winning record against an Ivy foe. … The hometown of Cornell freshman Grant Mahler is listed as Village of Golf, Fla.
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.